Have you ever heard of social commerce? Simply put, it’s a way of selling products by using social media platforms as an online ‘store’. The supported platforms (mentioned below) allow business owners to create business pages to showcase their product range, including via images and/or video, descriptions, copy, logos and augmented reality functionality such as filters.
It may be a brand-new concept to some individuals, but the idea framework has actually been around since 2005, before Facebook existed! It’s been growing exponentially over the last few years for eCommerce businesses and social media users.
The challenge for newcomers that are dipping their toes into social commerce is to adapt and leverage their USP in ways that fit the brand and product to appeal to audiences well versed in social purchasing.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is quite a simple concept on a surface level: selling products and/or services on social media (or other) platforms that carry social elements. Social commerce allows shoppers to complete their purchases—from browsing to checkout— solely on the relevant social media platform, leaving the retailers’ online site out of the process entirely.
Is this a smart move for your business to take? Well, let’s think about it.
- One of the golden rules of marketing is to ‘go where your customers are’. Where are they? On social media. The latest Facebook statistics reveal that there are 2.80 billion active users on the platform. That’s a massive number of prospects waiting to see, learn about and buy your products and/or services.
- Current social media platforms that support social commerce include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat.
- Once you’ve found your audience and implemented essential marketing tactics to strengthen your online presence and ranking on Google SERPs, an increase in traffic, trust ratio, connection and engagement should flow organically.
So, based on these three points, we’d recommend conducting some A/B testing to find out if it’s worth investment.
How social commerce works on Facebook and Instagram
You can connect your Facebook and Instagram business accounts seamlessly to offer your products on both platforms simultaneously. Find out everything you need to know by visiting the Facebook for Business Help Centre.
Facebook comments, “Facebook Shops are an easy way for you to create a customised digital storefront across our family of apps. Your shop gives you the ability to inspire your customers and help them find the right products. Shops are simple to set up, seamless to use, load faster compared to a mobile website and are global in scale.”
This is a perfect first step for start-ups and SMEs currently having a limited selection of physical products. As mentioned earlier, your existing business model may not be ideal for a Facebook shop; that’s why your strategies must be agile and innovative enough to adapt quickly to new opportunities.
Social Commerce Tips
Always ensure your content is optimised for mobile
If you’ve had any discussions with business consultancies about marketing your products and/or services online, the sentence, ‘You need to optimise your content’ will be one of the main recommendations. You must do several things to ensure your content is optimised for the relevant platform and target audience.
RECOMMENDED READING: “Okay, Google. Why must my website be mobile-friendly?”
Use vertical images. Most social media users access the platforms from their phones (and other mobile devices), so it’s best to keep all images vertical so users won’t have to turn their phones sideways to engage with your content.
Video content for social commerce should focus on conveying the product and/or service, and brand messaging concisely but still appeal to the audience. It’s best to limit it to approximately 15 seconds.
Copy needs pique interest, curiosity and engagement through carefully crafted copywriting with a strong call-to-action. Try 100 characters or less for headlines/titles and up to 160 characters for meta descriptions.
Captions need to be clear and descriptive, telling the user exactly what they need to know; they should have to click-through for any more information. They increase accessibility, and users don’t need the sound turned on to understand the content fully.
Filters (augmented reality)
The social media platforms, especially Instagram, allow you to use filters and other AR functionality to make your content stand out from the competition but don’t let it detract from the core message.
Always include your brand logo and ensure its prominence in the content. Users may be scrolling through their feed, see the logo and stop to have a look at the products; if your logo hadn’t been there, they might have swiped past it.
Is social commerce redefining the sales funnel model?
BigCommerce posits an interesting, much more distilled version of the sales funnel mechanism for attracting prospects, generating leads and conversions.
“Because the truth is, you only need two things to create a successful online business.
- A product that genuinely helps people solve a problem.
- A streamlined purchase journey. One that makes it easy to buy and that begins where the customer is most active and engaged.”
It begs the question; have modern marketing methods such as social commerce made the traditional sales funnel redundant? Are we being ushered into a new era of eCommerce that requires adapting business strategies on a higher level?
We’ll answer these questions in one of our upcoming articles. Keep an eye on our blog page!